Thursday, October 28, 2004

Now Showing for a Limited Time Only: 

Halloween XVII: Attack of the Killer Mommy-Eating Beast!
Starring me, Maggie as Me, Maggie
Rated G
Available only at Me, Maggie!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Bang! Goes Another Day 

What I've been up to:

1. Finishing up the last two doggie plates on my current contract.
2. Working on more pirates... arrrrrrrr!!!
3. Staying up way too late at night to accomplish #1 & #2.
4. Trying to read Maggie's mind.
5. Using itunes to download all my favorite songs from the long lost cassette collection of my youth. I had a lot more cassettes then than I have CDs now. And they were better.
6. Over the weekend, I successfully decorated and helped coordinate my future sister-in-law's bridal shower.
7. Now planning her bachelorette party. We're going to a fashion trunk show and it sounds fab.
8. Enjoying my favorite two weeks of fall, the last two weeks of October. Stunningly vibrant.
9. Trying to convince my hubby that if I quit my job tomorrow we wouldn't lose the house or fall into financial ruin. That would take at least a few months.
10. Trying to convince myself of the same thing. I keep hearing this little voice (Snowbird? Is that you?) that says, "You can't take it anymore! Just quit! It will all work out."

Things I haven't been doing:
1. Writing or answering emails.
2. Updating the blogs (except right now).
3. Reading all my favorite blogs daily.
4. Walking the dog 2 times a day. I'm still sick. STILL.
5. Sleeping more than 5 hours a night.
6. Eating properly.
7. Arriving at the dayjob before 10:15am every day.
8. Drawing really well.
9. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
10. Giving Snowbird the rest, care and nurturing she needs right now (she's sick too).

Come Friday I will have been sick for 6 weeks straight. No matter, back to work.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Three Years Ago... Yesterday 

On October 20, 2001, a perfectly clear and sunshiney day, Andrew and I got married. We chose Stone Harbor New Jersey as our location because so many of our best memories happened down the shore.


My Dad walked me up the aisle. I could feel him shaking as he held onto my hand.


I shook even more as I spoke my vows. My voice cracked a bit as it was being broadcast over the speakers.


When we stepped outside, there were people all over the street who came out of their houses to watch.


We drove to Hereford Inlet for photos, which is where Andrew proposed to me the November before.


Andrew looks like he's smiling but he's really wincing because he had to go to the bathroom reeeeally bad, making this pose extremely difficult. Something I'll never forget--ha!


My favorite part of the day began when the beach photos were over and we got in the convertible. We decided to delay our arrival at the reception and just drove around Stone Harbor and Avalon by ourselves for a bit. It was the most peaceful part of our day. Definitely something I'll never forget. It was awesome. Just me and my groom.


Our reception took place at a yacht club. This was the view from the dining room.


I've always loved the magical quality of the sky at dusk. It was even more beautiful in person, with soft cries of seagulls and the smell of the water all around us.


Cheers! Andrew's brother delivered the most beautiful toast. Ever.


Gotta love the giant swordfish and other yacht club d├ęcor. Somehow it all worked.


I saw this cake design in Martha Stewart Weddings and I just HAD to have it. Not only beautiful, it was the most delicious cake I've ever tasted. Didn't taste so good 1 year later though on our 1st anniversary. Freezer burn.


I swear, it was the most beautiful day ever. The weather was so perfect, people still talk about it to this day. "Do you remember what a beautiful day it was? I'll never forget it."

Me neither.

Happy Anniversary, Andrew.
xox

---

After this post I am taking a blogging break. I have too many things to catch up on. I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

On the Verge 

I'm home with my dog all day--shouldn't I be happy?

This medication and my symptoms are making it impossible to be happy. I'm tired and cranky and unable to draw a straight line. And I have so much to do. And Maggie does not understand this. She thinks I have so many games to play, not work to do. And when I try to do my work, she barks and barks and barks at me. She cries and barks and scrapes at the doors and I let her out and she wants to come back in because I didn't follow her out but it is misty wet and damp outside, not where I should be. And I have so much to do--did I mention that? I am in that oh-so-important time in my freelance projects where if I don't keep at it I'm going to run behind, which requires late late nights. And I can't do late late nights. I can barely do afternoons without dozing off. What have I gotten myself into here? And then there's the CEO's work which I haven't touched and I'm sure he is expecting it to be finished by now. Thank god he is out of state until tomorrow.

And my gaddammed doctor hasn't called me with my friggin X-Ray results and I need them! I need to know. It will at least give me a good excuse not to go back to work for the rest of the week. A true fracture will give me credibility. If there's one thing I hate it is the label of a hypochondriac.

@#(*$&#(*&# Maggie stop it!

Monday, October 18, 2004

May be habit-forming. Use only as prescribed. 

Q: What does it take to convince Kate that she should really just suck it up and ask her boss to work from home because she's sick for the 5th week in a row?

A: Possible multiple fractures in her ribs from painfully violent coughing spells.

The results from my X-Rays were supposed to be available today, but the doctor hasn't returned my calls. Complete and utter understaffing at the family physicians.

In the meantime, my new cough medicine/pain reliever has more warning labels on it than a bottle of anthrax, most with reference to dizziness, drowsiness and danger of addiction.

In other words, woooohoo! The room is spinning and I can't drive to work!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Some days I just can't draw. 

Today is one of those days.

One of those uninspired, hopeless days. It is raining a cold mist outside and my sneakers got saturated with puddles early on and I have had cold wet feet all day. I have been alone in the office for a few good chunks of time and you'd think I'd use that time to get some personal things done. But no--I can't! I can not draw. Seriously, there are times when I pick up a pencil and put it to paper and every scratch that comes out of it is misdirected, uninspired and ugly. You can not make me draw on days like this. Can't do it.

I had Maggie in the office with me in the morning and that was nice, but she does not allow me to work. Ok, Maggie, I get it--this job sucks and there's no use doing it when I could be playing with you. I know. And yes you are so adorable when you trot up to me with a tennis ball protruding from the side of your mouth and you place it ever so carefully at my feet, only to snatch it back up when I reach for it. Really, it is cute and I love you to bits. I can barely stand how much I love you. But if I get absolutely nothing done at the day job, it may cause Confrontation. And we can't have that.

Ten minutes left and counting...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Illustration Friday--a bit late 


I actually drew this on Friday, so doesn't that count? I spent most of the day just like that, with my Maggie's whiskers in my face and her heartbeat on my belly.

*Sigh* I wish I could be there now!

I have come to work every day this week... late, perhaps, but I've made it. I'm not sure what kind of extra credit I think I'll get for that but... the point is, really, to avoid confrontation. I do not do well in confrontational situations, especially at work.

On the upside, I continue to do freelance projects on the side, including more doggie plates. Next up are Dachshund, Corgie and Yorkie. I'm currently working on Beagle and Pug. The Pug, I must say, is going to be cute. I'll admit that I'm not big on Pugs but you know, once I draw something for the first time, I find a whole new level of appreciation for it. Besides that, the setting was completely my idea--Pug and owner at the beauty salon. Hence the need for old school hooded hair dryers. Thanks for the suggestions, I found what I was looking for!

I received photos of the prototypes today--here's a sneak peek!



This and all the others will be available at the end of January 2005. I'll keep you posted as to where and how to find them.

In the meantime, there's a solar eclipse visible in Hawaii, Alaska and parts of Asia tonight. Let's hope the eclipse brings great bounties of luck to both you and me.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, Antibiotics, Decongestants, Oral Contraceptives and Parentheses... 

An update.

I just get sicker and sicker. It has been three weeks now since I first woke up with a gunky throat and a trickle in my nose. It has progressed to the point where I could not go to work on Thursday. Up until then I went into work late every day... leaving a message for CEO each morning that I was going to sleep in a bit rather than take the whole day off as a sick day (doing the man a favor, though I'm pretty sure he didn't see it that way).

On Wednesday I felt like things were getting better so I sucked it up and went in on time. Wouldn't you know it, I was the only soul there until 10:30am. Such is the way of the dysfunctional family office. So by the time 2pm came around I was feeling lousier than ever and suffered greatly for the last few hours of the day. (Didn't help that I had that gynob appointment at noon, of course.) Yeah. Anyway, I stuck it out, coughing and wheezing all the way to 6:30 and went home and changed right into my pajamas and remained in those same pajamas for the next 48 hours.

But I digress. So I called out sick on Thursday morning (and felt guilty about it--why?), and I made an appointment to see my family doctor right after my psychiatrist med-check appointment. By the end of the day I had prescriptions for four medications to fill and a diagnosis of sinusitis. I felt like a senior citizen handing in all those prescriptions at the pharmacy (also had my "no-babies!" pills to fill from the gynob appointment the day before). Friday morning I called CEO and left a message that I was going to sleep in and I'd be in later. By noon I realized this was just plain silly. Why was I so afraid to take another sick day for my sick little self? Don't I deserve it? If I had just taken a day or two at the beginning of my illness I am quite sure that it would not have lasted 3 weeks and progressed into this painful sinus infection.

While home on Friday I visited a few blogs in my lazy waking hours and realized that I totally missed Illustration Friday--ironically enough, because I was sleeping right through it. I did a sketch, a quick one, of me and my Maggie (who is all better, by the way) curled up on the couch in a sleepy stupor (scan to come). Staying home sick is much more fun when you have a dog. For such an energetic ball of fur, she was surprisingly sympathetic and spent many hours spooning me like a living, breathing teddy bear.

Friday night I felt better rested and risked meeting Andrew in the city to meet some of his new co-workers. We then went to dinner at a trendy overpriced restaurant and that's when I started coughing. Coughing, wheezing, doubled over in spasmodicness. We didn't stay for dessert.

Saturday I stayed in bed or on the couch as much as possible as my ribs and back ached from all the coughing. Maggie was a bit bored and could hardly tolerate any more of my sluggishness. A few games of fetch and she was temporarily satisfied. Saturday night we laid low, ordered fantastic Japanese/Thai food, and I stayed up to watch the end of "Holes." Now I need to read that book. I heard it was great. The movie was pretty awesome, I thought. Maggie and Andrew slept through it.

Today we slept as late as Maggie would allow, made a nice breakfast and accidentally attended an arts and crafts festival in Chestnut Hill (we were only going to a patio furniture store, not planning on a blockaded neighborhood full of booths of loveliness). Tonight Andrew's parents invited us out to dinner and that was yummy and low key. Now I'm back in my jammies and hoping I'm too sick to go to work tomorrow. I've already been warned by CEO that this week is going to be "a tough one, we've got to get a lot of work done, we're really behind now" because I took 2 recovery days off.

So it goes.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Later, Randomly 

Ok, perhaps today wasn't a good day to attempt the exercise below. Not enough interaction going on today. I turned my 15 minute doctor visit into a 2 hour lunch and probably missed out on the greatest crap ever. Oh well. And now that everyone is back from lunch, I've slumped back behind my 23" cinema display and put on my invisible Cookie Monster earmuffs. If anything manages to cross through Cookie Monster's fluffy threshold I'll be sure to report it.

Maggie is doing better today, certainly much better than me! Thank you for your well wishes.

Ok, so I have two more doggie plates to do and one of them requires drawing vintage salon hood dryers. I've done a search for photo reference of such machines but I can not find any, anywhere. I have found loads of portable bonnet style dryers which have flooded me with memories of my Grandmom's house. I think I was scared of hers. Something about that coil and that bonnet--terrifying! Anyway, if anyone has any internet resources for photographs of hair salons in the 1940s-1960s I would really appreciate a tip or two.

The last plate involves girl wearing tennis attire circa 1950. Anyone have a private photo collection of vintage tennis fashions?

Ok, that's all for today. It is just that kind of day. Some days are inspired, some aren't. 'Tis the artist's way.

A-he-he-he-he-hem *cough cough* did you say artist?

That's right, Poopynannyhead, I am an Artist.

Burn This Mother Out 

Today I am even tired-er than yesterday. I fell asleep on while working on more doggie plates. I awoke to realize this at 1am. Maggie May awoke at 4am for a pee trip outside, then at 6:30 for her wake up call. I did my best to tire her out quickly so I could possibly get a half an hour nap before getting ready for work. Ha. This entailed running and jogging, playing chase and fetch. Guess who I tired out?

So since I am incapable of thoughtful reflection today, I thought I might record actual real snippets of conversation from my workday. I believe it should prove to be more entertainment than you can actually handle. I'll start now but continue later after I get back from my doctor's appointment (gynob--sorry I had to share so you could feel my pain).

A Day in the Life of Kate: Actual Snippets of Conversation at the Dayjob

1. Kate--I'm trying to email you some pictures... but I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
Translation: Can you come here and show me how to add an attachment from a floppy disk again? I refuse to write down how to do it, because it is just easier to ask you EVERY TIME.

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Sleep-Deprived List-Making 

Reasons I have not been getting enough sleep in the past 2 weeks:
1. Maggie is sick.
2. I am sick.
3. Too many freelance jobs.
4. Stress.
5. Maggie's wakeup call takes place earlier each day. We're talking it-is-still-dark-out-dammit early. And she won't go back to bed.
6. My aching back.
7. Lack of exercise.

Things I would like to do this weekend but probably won't have time to do:
1. Get my highlights retouched. Can you say ROOTS?
2. Get a salon massage.
3. Reorganize and redecorate my studio.
4. Go shopping for much-needed clothing.
5. Paint something.
6. Sleep in late.
7. Have private time with my husband.

Things I will probably end up doing instead, whether I like it or not:
1. Wake up with Maggie at her god-awful hour.
2. The random little freelance projects that I've procrastinated on so far, which means they are no longer little.
3. Remain in my pajamas until I know Andrew is on his way home from class--at 5pm.
4. Do dishes, do laundry, clean, go food shopping, run errands and attempt to accomplish other miscelleany that I can not fit into the work week.
5. Zone out in front of the television when something catches my attention on HGTV.
6. Drink wine at night and be painfully hungover and tired the next morning, making Maggie's wakup call even more brutal.
7. Play fetch, catch, chase, seek-and-find and hide-and-seek with Maggie and Andrew.
8. All the while fantasizing about what it will be like when I work from home... will all these activities creep into my work week then?
9. Ruminate on the fact that I haven't accomplished anything I really wanted to do this weekend, and give myself a guilt trip over it.
10. Dread Monday.

As you can see I am not a chipper Snowbird today. I suppose I could blame this on the post-nasal drip and the sporadic sleep I had last night, and the night before, and the night before, and so on and so forth for the last two weeks--if you can call it sleep. In my moments of rest I repeatedly wake up in coughing fits. It isn't restful at all really, more like dozing in and out of semi-conciousness, which I then do at my desk throughout the day.

I could promise you and myself that I'll try to get more sleep tonight, but I do have that other freelance thing I need to work on... and from what I can tell, Maggie will call on my motherly instincts once again. You can't just let a sick puppy dog mess all over her crate. I mean you can, but I would highly advise against it. Once was enough.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Inspiration Sandwiches for Everyone 

I got this little hug of an email in response to, oddly enough, Maggie's post on Tuesday about the puppies in need. It made me feel warm inside, like I'm doing something right. Those warm feelings are good signs, at least that's what I've come to believe. When you get that sentimental gooshy feeling right between the ribs, a warm tingly that almost puts a lump in the throat--that's how I felt when I read this.

Dear Maggie & Kate,

I'm writing to let you know that I and my beagle Maggie, just made a donation to Main Line Rescue thanks to your blog.

I'm a regular visitor to beagles-on-the-web and that's how I found you. My Maggie is 6 years old and I've been in love with these little guys ever since we first brought her home.

Kate...I obviously don't know you...but you have such a gift! Not only are your illustrations amazing, but you have a real flair for writing. I know from reading your blog that you struggle. I wanted to share with you that without knowing
it...you have been such an inspiration to me.

I majored in illustration...but gave it up after an instructor told me that "you could be the best illustrator in the world...and you probably won't work". There was no way I was even remotely close to being great.

I took a safe job and dabble in creative things to have my artistic outlet. I have not picked up a pencil to draw in years...until last week. I want to thank you for that.

I think you have a kind and compassionate heart in your love for animals and thank you and Maggie for spreading the word about these puppies in need. Good luck with getting help for your neighbors dog. That must be hard to watch.

You're a good person!


Wow. Wow. I inspired someone. Little me! By sharing my struggle, I inspired an artist to take a baby step back into her art. Is that cool or what??? Oddly enough, I sent a similar email to an illustrator I admired just about a year ago. Hers was the first blog I ever read, ever saw, ever. In response she encouraged me to start my own, saying that it is a great way to meet other illustrators and share inspiration. I am so grateful to her. She was so right.

As I started to type my response, I got that rosy feeling again:

I'm so touched to hear that I've inspired you, even just to pick up a pencil. That is really great. I'm sorry that you had one of those pivotal moments like that... In the same vein, on my first day of illustration class in college my illustration teacher said something like this:

"I want everyone to take a good look at the person sitting to your left. That person will NOT be an illustrator. Now look at the person seated to your right. That person will NOT pursue a career in illustration."

And of course I am aware that two people have looked at ME and thought to themselves, "She is not going to be an illustrator."

Nice, huh?

That, and when I was in high school I was in Advanced Placement English. My English teacher (a nun) took me aside after class one day and praised me for a poem I wrote for an assignment. She said it was astoundingly beautiful. She asked me to bring in any poetry that I may have written on my own so she could read it. So I did. And when I went back to her to find out what she thought, she said (rather nonchalantly, as I remember), "Oh, yes. Well... this isn't what I was thinking... this is just a teenage love poem, like a song on the radio or something... not on the same level." She never asked to read more, she never encouraged me to write more, and I never shared any of my personal poetry or writings with anyone for years. Then, when I finally did, I was ridiculed once again. This time, by my then-boyfriend. He was a musician. He wanted me to write lyrics to his music. Nothing I wrote was good enough.

So 12 years after my first embarrassment as a budding writer, I am finally purusing it and sharing my thoughts in a semi-public way. It's a big step, and it was scary at first, but so far I've received nothing but encouragement. Which has inspired me to try my hand in writing stories.

So... hmm maybe I should post all that in my blog. Don't be surprised if you see it there later today! But so anyway, please don't let the misdirected, ill-natured ramblings of a failed illustrator discourage you for the rest of your life. I know where you are coming from. I am struggling. It is not easy. But I've come to a point where it is even more difficult to remain in the creativity-numbing quasi-art-related career I've been struggling to maintain. It doesn't make sense to continue in it this way anymore. I've got a new level of confidence and a lot of it has to do with starting my blog and meeting other illustrators who have gone through the same exact thing, or are still knee-deep in it. It really helps to know that you're not alone, but also to know that anything is possible, despite what the naysayers (and your inner critic) have told you.

So why not start a blog and share your drawings with us?

Thanks again for your email, it made my day.


Knowing I've done something positive for someone I don't know (without even trying) is so very moving. Maybe I'll write an email to Claire and thank her in the same spirit. On a meloncholy note, it is amazing how much power we each have to discourage another from pursuing their dreams. Just one stupid remark can change a person's life for the worst. And that, my friends, can affect the entire world. Imagine how many more Parrish's, Rockwell's and Wyeths' we'd have around if no one chose to discourage a budding illustrator (well, in all fairness, there are a lot of Wyeths). Imagine what we'd be robbed of if Parrish, Rockwell, or the entire Wyeth family ever listened to their critics. And imagine what you're robbing the world of if you keep listening to yours.

If there's room for anything superfluous in this world, it is ART. You just can not have TOO MUCH ART in the world. It is just not possible. There can not be too many artists.

Hey! Who inspires you? Did anyone indirectly or directly move you to start your own blog?

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